Tips for Hammocks Beach Paddle

We will make our 3rd trip to Bear Island in a couple of weeks. Our first trip was just my wife and myself and was uneventful. Our 2nd was with my wife in her Elaho and my 10 yr old daughter and myself in our tandem Manitou II. It was calm going over mid-morning but coming back after lunch there was a stiff 15+ mph wind out of the west/south west that really took a toll on us.

Any advice from experienced coastal paddlers that might help us?

Thanks in advance,


Just did that paddle Sunday.
10-15 knot SW wind is the normal summer pattern. So if that’s what you get, you can consider that a typical summer day.

The tidal currents are usually the bigger culprit. I’ve only done the Hammocks Beach State Park trail out to Bear Island a couple of times. On Sunday, it was the day before a new moon, so we had bigger tidal effects. We managed to paddle back at low tide trying to pick our spots through the salt marsh creek, but we did have to get out and walk a number of steps on several occasions. Mostly I got out and my partner was able to stay seated. I used a contact tow line as a painter to walk it forward. We also fought some tidal current beginning to flood in as we were paddling back. We were paddling a Current Designs Unity, a 21’ tandem, so making progress against currents was little issue. But it still adds a good degree of effort if you’re trying to make things easy.

So my advice for an easy paddle would be to plan the paddle out during the flood to high tide, and paddle back during the ebb to low tide. Whatever time frame you’re spending out there, it seemed centering it around high tide would be the way to go.

We got to having fun with deep-edged bow rudders in that tandem this past weekend. She was cranking that bow around in a hurry. That was a lot of fun. We rolled too, which is always a bit more rewarding as a tandem team for some reason.

It’s a beautiful island. Have fun!